Well, I knew I'd miss snow days but that's not a problem because here they have typhoon days. School is closed because of a big typhoon up north. It's pretty stormy here so it will be interesting when the big one hits.
It's been quite a week. The people here are awesome, along the lines of our amazing friends back home, and have had us over for several meals. People tend to order in when they have you over, probably because it's so cheap. We can get take out for 2 families for under $20 and it's good food. Some of us (Makena, Janice in that order) are still adjusting to the new stuff (actually Janice is 80% there, Makena, maybe 10) but enjoy some home style stuff as well. There are noodle shops everywhere, juice stands, guys cooking a pot of soup on the side of the road (haven't tried that one yet). I'll take a tour of Da She (the nearest village) later and post a few pictures. It's really, really interesting.
The school is amazing. Still can't believe there are palm trees at school. The science room is a little overwhelming because of the sheer volume of stuff everywhere. It took me the better part of an afternoon to clean out the desk, discovering 3 live cockroaches. That was gross. There is a lot of work to be done planning because the curriculum is new, the texts are new and I've never taught American science 6-9 before. Slight bit of stress here. I will take you on a tour of the school later.
I mentioned scooters before. There are thousands of scooters on the road, parked, on the sidewalk. Everyone rides a scooter. This turns out to be a good thing, especially in Da She as parking is really bad, except for scooters. But even then, they're still wall to wall. And they carry everything. We've seen up to 4 people on them. We saw one guy carrying a 16 foot piece of lumber ACROSS his bike, making him as wide as a car lane. Ikea even has it's own underground parking for scooters, with tiny little lanes going down below the store. I see a scooter purchase soon, much to Janice's chagrin.
We've had no cockroaches in the apartment yet, but a few geckos, which are good because they eat other bugs.
Back to the Typhoon, it's still howling out there and will continue for at least another day. I took the kids up on the roof today, to experience the full power of the storm. It was really cool until we got locked out....fortunately, someone came along and rescued us. The school grounds are pretty messed up, which is sad seeing how hard the maintenance guys work to keep it beautiful. One of the trampolines got tossed around and was totally destroyed. Lots of debris and a few leaks, but nobody seems too shocked.
One of the most exciting things was going out to buy plants. You may or may not know of my fascination with palm trees and tropical plants (remember the bananas). Well, surprisingly, tropical plants grow really well here, even outside. And they're cheap (pics coming). We've been a couple times and are currently trying to keep them from blowing off the deck in this typhoon.